Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: "The Scar Boys" by Len Vlahos

This is Harry's personal essay for his college application.  Only the question asks him to respond in 250 words or less, and Harry knows that he couldn't possibly give the application person an idea of what he's like in those few words.  After all, he was tied to a tree during a storm by bullies and when the tree was hit by lightening, he was left with a head, face, and neck full of scars.  As he got older, he made one friend - Johnny - and together they started a punk rock band called The Scar Boys.  Through music, Harry makes a couple more friends and gathers the strength to stand up for himself... and stand in the spotlight, scars and all.

I ended up liking this book more than I expected.  Harry is an unusual character who is dealing with tremendous outward scars on top of the inner turmoil of growing up and feeling like you don't belong.  Even his friend isn't very nice to him, or at least doesn't consider him an equal.  But with music, everything explodes for Harry.  He finds his voice.  He finds that permission to rage against all that is stacked up against him.  He finds his peace and confidence.  It isn't easy...  and it doesn't look like it's permanent either.  There are different situations that arise that test Harry as a growing individual while also testing his friendships.

This book has nice quick pacing that will appeal to more reluctant readers.  But this will be a hit with music lovers, anyone who feels out of place, and those who like road trips.  The follow up to this, Scar Girl is due out in March and looks to focus more on Cheyenne - the female bassist of The Scar Boys.  

The Scar Boys 
by Len Vlahos 
Egmont, 2014.
237 pages
Source:  Library


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